|Album Title:||nornir – boys, come back to me|
|Anime Title:||Mawaru Penguindrum|
|Artist:||Yakushimaru Etsuko Metro Orchestra|
|Release Type:||OP/ED Single|
|Release Date:||October 5, 2011|
|1. nornir||Yakushimaru Etsuko Metro Orchestra||7:03|
|2. boys, come back to me||Yakushimaru Etsuko Metro Orchestra||6:28|
|3. nornir (off vocal)||Yakushimaru Etsuko Metro Orchestra||7:03|
|4. boys, come back to me (off vocal)||Yakushimaru Etsuko Metro Orchestra||6:24|
Review: Spoiler: This review will be largely positive.
I’ll be straightforward; it’s been a long time since I’ve really liked an OP/ED. Not to betray my cynicism, but they’re too often either wily vehicles for seiyuu endorsement with bad English or brainless irony festivals of misdirected rhetoric; it’s the happy, rare occasion when I truly enjoy one without excuses.
I guess this is where “Nornir” and “Boys, Come Back to Me” come in, because, here, there is no middle ground. There are no caveats or compromises. These are just good music. Etsuko Yakushimaru combines her whispery, breathless timbre with a huge, dramatic jazz orchestra sound, and the results are heroic. The tracks have a surreal majesty that seems drawn straight out of a fairy tale, making them openings worthy of the monumental show they introduce.
Etsuko has impressed in the past (ED to Tatami Galaxy, OP to Arakawa), but her scope was narrower and the arrangements in general were less grand. The singles presented in this album bring a much wider sense of scale, and is simply a smashing execution of a rarely-successful mix of sounds. We see Etsuko pulling triple-duty here; she is credited as the vocalist, lyricist, and composer (the latter two under her pseudonym Tica·α). Such involvement is increasingly rare, and thus impressive as a result.
That said, if there is a major criticism against these two songs, it would be that they seem to be cut from the same cloth. It’s never a problem to tell them apart, but there’s still a niggling sense of family resemblance. They’re not necessarily twins, but they’re half-siblings with the same color hair, and it causes the slightest tinge of disappointment. Though I wish the tracks would sound just slightly more distinct, this ultimately does not detract from their overall sterling quality.
Neither of these tracks is done justice by their 90-second TV edits. Both contain extensive, intricately orchestrated sections that did not appear in the animations. The intros give the impression of a typical verse/chorus structure to the songs, and that does them a great disservice. “Boys, Come Back to Me,” in particular, has two marvelously breathtaking instrumental sections in the middle. There’s much more here than the OP edits suggest, and it’s to your own detriment if you decide to judge the songs without experiencing the full versions.
I find that there’s not much to say when my opinion is so plainly positive. Listen to these.
I’ll be keeping my eye on Etsuko.
Mawaru Penguindrum OP1 – nornir
Mawaru Penguindrum OP2 – boys, come back to me